Adding the subnational dimension to the systematic analysis of the longevity revolution: opportunities and challenges in establishing a subnational Human Mortality Database

Rembrandt D. Scholz, Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Sebastian Kl├╝sener, Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Pavel Grigoriev, Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Dmitri A. Jdanov, Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research and New Economic School, Russia
Vladimir M. Shkolnikov, Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research and New Economic School, Russia

The Human Mortality Database (HMD) has over the last two decades substantially contributed to improve our understanding of cross-national variation in the longevity revolution. However, in many countries national trends mask substantial variation across subnational regions. The subnational perspective allows to identify vanguard and laggard regions in the longevity revolution, and how their position has shifted over time. In addition, having access to comparative subnational data for many countries would enable researchers to explore to what degree mortality variation was and is characterized by variation between and within countries. This potentially allows to identify whether the longevity revolution is predominantly driven by processes with a national-level dimension (e.g., health and economic policies) that are likely to decrease variation in mortality risks across subnational regions, or by factors with a regional dimension (e.g., economic conditions, lifestyles, climate). In order to demonstrate potentials and challenges of establishing a subnational Human Mortality Database, we present outcomes of a pilot project on Germany. In the first part we will discuss solutions for methodological challenges that arise due to the fact that some assumptions of the HMD methodology are likely to be violated when working with subnational data. This includes the assumption that there is no selective in- und out-migration above age 80. In the second part we present long-term regional mortality trends for Germany. We will show that the country is not only well suited to improve our understanding of mortality differences between Eastern and Western Europe. It also provides important insights into the North-South dimension of the longevity revolution. We will demonstrate that the current shift from a North-South- to a South-North gradient across Europe has also occurred within Germany. This suggests that this shift is at least in part also driven by factors with a regional dimension.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 21: Regional mortality differences